The Center for Evidence-Based Corrections is currently working on the following research:

California Static Risk Assessment

This is a two year study with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).  Over 10 years ago, the University of California Irvine’s Center for Evidence-Based Corrections and CDCR developed the California Validated Risk Assessment instrument modeled after the State of Washington’s Risk Assessment tool.  Using primarily automated criminal history records, the CSRA instrument categorizes individuals into three risk level categories for recidivism ranging from low risk, moderate risk, and high-risk.  The tool divides the high-risk category into three sub-categories: high drugs, high property, and high violent.  The CSRA instrument was developed and validated initially on a sample of approximately 100,000 parolees released in Fiscal Year 2002-2003.  In the last decade, California changed a number of significant criminal justice policy mandates affecting its offender populations.  The UCI Center for Evidence-Based Corrections validated the CSRA instrument with California’s offender population after the passage of Assembly Bill 109, the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act. However, the CSRA instrument has not been formally revalidated on the offender population after the passage of Proposition 47, the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative in 2014.  In addition to the policy changes, UCI shall review a number of variables and variable definitions to consider for instrument modifications.

Division of Juvenile Justice Treatment Evaluation

This is a 5-year, $1.1 million dollar study funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).  After 14 years of implementing what was designed to be an effective protocol for youth offenders, DJJ is ready to assess whether this treatment protocol can effectively improve behavioral outcomes.  This study is an evaluation of the complete DJJ treatment model.

Program Accountability Review and Fidelity Tool Development for Community Programs

This is a six-month contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP) to produce a revised Program Accountability Review (PAR) and new fidelity tool for DRP’s community programs.  UCI has undergone a detailed process to revise the PAR and develop a fidelity tool for in-prison Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT programs.  The current study is to extend this work to the community programs.

Data Collection and Evaluation Services

This is a 3-year, $548K study through the County of Orange.  The goals and objectives of this study include: evaluating the impact of AB109 on local recidivism as well as the impact of AB109 programs and services on local recidivism.  It will also identify the Orange County Community Corrections Partnership (OCCCP) program strengths and areas for improvement and establish an ongoing evaluation framework for the OCCCP stakeholders.

Data Notebook Study for California Behavior Health Planning Council (CBHPC)

This is a two-year, $150K study funded by the California Department of Heath Care Services to help determine county metrics on progress in meeting needs of community members with mental health issues.

Testing of Pretrial Assessment Tools for Defendants in Los Angeles County

This is a $98K, two-year study with the Superior Court of Los Angeles.  The project will examine and validate the Public Safety Assessment (PSA) tool developed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) for all offenders at bail deviation hearings.  In addition, the Criminal Court Assessment Tool (CCAT) will be validated for defendants at arraignment.

California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA)

CALPIA is a self-supporting, customer-focused business that reduces recidivism, increases prison safety, and enhances public safety by providing offenders productive work and training opportunities.  The goal of this assessment is to ascertain the official recidivism rates among offenders who participated in any CALPIA Program.


Francisco Homes

This study set forth a mixed methods approach to evaluating the Francisco Homes service model for lifers paroled from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the Los Angeles area.  The project documented the services that are provided, compared the Francisco Homes service model with best practices on lifers (to the extent available) and general correctional program effectiveness principles, and recommended changes to the model to align with best practices.  To the extent possible, the project also compared recidivism results of participants in the Francisco Homes program to paroled lifers who did not participate in the Francisco Homes services.  The report can be found under the “What’s New” section of our Publications and Presentations page.

Division of Rehabilitative Programs: DRP Program Performance Process Development

The Division of Rehabilitative Programs (DRP), as part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), is charged with the provision of rehabilitation and treatment programs with the goal of integrating offenders successfully into our communities.  Currently, DRP has over 41 in-prison-based rehabilitative contracts with vendors. Over the past several years, the DRP has developed a series of Program Accountability Reviews “PAR” activities as a form of contract compliance.  In the past, the process was a fairly time-intensive process to determine whether program operations, as well as budget requirements, were being met.  Recently, with the advent of the ARMS data system, in which a wealth of individual program participant data are recorded, including session attendance, treatment plans, and case notes routinely put into the ARMS system by CDCR contractors, DRP is in the process of streamlining the contract compliance process by utilizing data from the ARMS system to develop contract compliance measures.  DRP has also developed a set of quantitative performance measures and has drafted five measures of program fidelity.  This research set out the broad parameters of a process evaluation that integrates contract compliance, program fidelity with program implementation efforts.

Division of Juvenile Justice Treatment Evaluation: Official Data Analysis

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the current treatment model used by the Division of Juvenile Justice.  This evaluation covered three major areas: 1) a process evaluation, 2) a data systems and data quality evaluation, and 3) a “preliminary” outcome evaluation.  Importantly, this evaluation should be considered a “first” evaluation for the DJJ model primarily because, along with assessment, it included recommendations to improve data quality and, thus, the quality of their future assessment capabilities.

Changes in Safety at High Desert State Prison: Official Data Analysis

The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the installation of surveillance cameras on a number of safety behaviors and perceptions by both inmates and staff at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). This prison is a test site by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to determine whether cameras will help reduce safety issues for both prisoners and staff.  Depending on the results of this project, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will expand the use of cameras to other prisons across the state. The report can be found under the “What’s New” section of our Publications and Presentations page.

The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) Staffing Study

CEBC conducted a staffing study for The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) to review current staffing levels and develop methodologies for calculating appropriate levels of staffing across three core clinical areas – 24-hour care nursing services, protective services (hospital police), and clinical teams.  This was a validation study which reviewed the data and methods used by DSH for their staffing needs.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Risk Assessment Tool (LASRA)

The LASRA study was done to provide and implement a risk assessment tool, based on UCI’s California Static Risk Assessment Tool (CSRA).  UCI modified the CSRA tool to (1) capture County inmate demographics and criminal history; and (2) interface with the Department of Justice and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Jail Information Management System.  The LASRA tool will enhance the Department’s existing classification methods by reducing the jail inmate population and efficiently identify inmates for community placement, thus helping to reduce inmate recidivism.

Fiscal Challenges in State Correctional Systems: A National Study of Prison Closings and Alternative Strategies

The University of California, Irvine (UCI), RAND, and three other institutions joined in a collaborative effort for this study.  This research required the development of a survey to be administered via the web to heads of each of the 50 states heads of corrections.  The surveys were done to identify the fiscal pressures under which states are operating, policies and practices that have been adopted to deal with budget crises, including closing prisons, reducing staff and programs, changes in state sentencing structures as well as mechanisms affecting the “back end” of corrections, including parole services and revocation policies.  Background data on the current and recent budget situation for each state was collected from public records.  Based on findings from the survey and budget situation, the project team selected 6 states that had shown innovative ways to deal with correctional shortfalls.  3-day site visits were conducted with teams of between 2 and 3 members representing the project team organizations.  A separate task mapped the strategies revealed from the surveys and site visits with current best practices in the field.  Finally a short-term economic analysis was be conducted, as well as the development of a protocol for estimating long term impacts of policies on crime and costs for states.